With Americans throwing nickels around like manhole covers, the hunt is on for new homebuyers to save on closing costs. They may have some luck with one site that is earning rave reviews — and some choice options for buyers looking for a break on home closing costs.
Brother, could buyers use the help. Closing costs can really mount up. Aside from the appraisal, which the buyer pays for, there’s also the title fee, lender fees, underwriting, a broker fee, mortgage discount point charges and a processing fee. While the seller can help pay for some of these charges, the buyer has to really dig deep to cover the financial pain of closing costs. (For a good estimate of the total charges associated with home closing costs, check out MyFico.com.)
But there is some online help for new homebuyers, and it’s all in one place at Closing.com. The site (as of the end of 2009) has a vendor database of 150,000 mortgage servicing firms in 14 different categories. But the Web site doesn’t force you to launch a time-consuming nationwide search to find a good deal on specific closing costs — Closing.com’s search technology is engineered to help you find mortgage service firms in your area code.
Closing.com lists specialized areas related to closing costs right on its home page — everything from appraisers to home inspectors to pest inspection. For example, a search for an appraisal company for the 18901 area code (Bucks County, Pa. — between Philadelphia and New York City) reveals 72 appraisal companies with just a few keystrokes.
The site is free to homebuyers (it makes money by charging mortgage servicing firms to be highlighted on the Web site). And each listing comes with an estimated price attached to its specific service. Closing.com estimates that closing cost charges reach $40 billion annually across the U.S., with anywhere from 3% to 7% of the total cost of the home earmarked for settlement fees and charges.